Eugene Symphony. Photo by Amanda L. Smith.

Tristan und Isolde

At long last, it’s here. Well, at least Act 1 is here. Even with intermissions, it’s hard to sit through more than three hours of opera, so the Eugene Symphony Orchestra has taken the long view and decided to perform Richard Wagner’s glorious four-hour Tristan und Isolde in three chunks spread out over three years. Act 1 is April 21, and Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong will lead the symphony — along with vocal soloists Nina Warren (Isolde), Roy C. Smith (Tristan), Ola Rafalo (Brangane) and Eugene Villanueva (Kurwenal) as well as the tenors and basses of the Eugene Symphony Chorus — through the early stages of an emotional love story that ends in grave tragedy. It’s a Herculean task to put on this opera, even with just a handful of singers. The opera has been performed in Oregon only once before, more than 50 years ago in Portland. In chunks, this will be well worth seeing.   

The Eugene Symphony Orchestra performs Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (Act 1) at 7:30 pm Thursday, April 21 on the Silva Concert Hall stage at the Hult Center. Tickets are $10-62.